Guest Blog & Giveaway: Cari Hunter on Desolation Point

22 Apr

Cari HWith being so busy covering everyone else’s lesfic news, Cari Hunter has been far too quiet about her own new novel! If you want a novel with suspense, romance, an exciting outdoor adventure and great writing, Cari’s your woman. This month, Cari follows up her gripping and excellent début Snowbound with her new novel, Desolation Point, which she talks about falling in love with here. Look out for details below on the book giveaway too – I’ll definitely be signing up for that.

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Falling Head Over Heels Hiking Boots

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I haven’t fallen in love many times in my life. With my wife it happened pretty much on first sight, then there was Fizz my pet hamster when I was twelve, and my two cats—well, they go without saying. For a while there I thought I was in love with Lena Headey, but that was possibly more a case of lust.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I found myself falling head-over-heels for two of my characters. It wasn’t supposed to happen, I certainly didn’t ask for it and it may well have been ill-advised, but—if I may pinch a language slightly more romantic than my own—je ne regrette rien.

desolation peakIt all started two years ago. My debut novel, Snowbound, was safely edited and off to the printers, so I began to plan a new story. I had a basic concept in mind: a national park, a flood, two women trapped in the middle of it all, and a bad guy chasing them down. I even drew a sketch, and I’m completely crap at those. The idea evolved: the national park became the North Cascades and the flood became a storm in the mountains. The bad guy stayed bad, while the two women got names—Alex and Sarah—and backgrounds. I wrote notes and outlines and marked my story beats. I researched my chosen location, used YouTube to teach myself how to fire a Glock and covered my computer desktop with pictures of snowy peaks. At some point I stopped procrastinating and actually started to write the bloody thing, and that, as they say, was that.

The love affair, as these things often do, started slowly. Alex and Sarah made me laugh, and I’m a sucker for a funny woman. They kept me up at night, thinking about them, considering from what cliff I’d left them dangling and how I was going to patch them up when they were back on terra firma. For twelve months of writing, in between 12-hour shifts where I might get puked on or spat at or verbally abused, Alex and Sarah were an absolute joy to come home to and spend time with. When Desolation Point was finished and Bold Strokes had said “yes” to publishing it, I knew already that I couldn’t give the characters up.

I probably should have—given that there’s a law of diminishing returns attached to sequels, and that standalone romances usually conclude as soon as the happy couple are, well, a happy couple—but I couldn’t. Mea culpa.Desolation Point desktop

So I started another story, an all-out thriller this time, with Alex and Sarah living far away from the Cascades, keeping their heads down, getting on with new careers and attempting to stay out of trouble. As you may have already guessed, despite their best efforts they do end up getting into quite a lot of trouble, which was fine by me; it meant sharing their company for another year.

I am not ashamed to say that I cried when I came to write the very last scene. Because that really was that. I had taken the couple as far as they could go and I needed to move past them. The only problem was that I really bloody missed them. For weeks, a brand new writing pad remained untouched. Pens languished in the drawer, reduced to signing cheques and scribbling shopping lists. I was stymied, unable to create a new cast of characters when I wanted those two back. There were a few tears before bedtime and then a none too subtle request from my real-life beloved that I pull on my Big Girl pants and stop being so damn mard.

mac-and-cheese-650-1I’m wearing them right now, my Big Girl pants, and taking a quick break from working on a fourth story, set back in England. I have new characters, whose voices I’m growing fond of and who are steadily pushing Alex and Sarah into the background. My wife is happy to see me writing rather than moping, and I’m looking forward to summer in the garden with ice-lollies and that pad of paper. I will confess to getting a little pang every time we have mac‘n’cheese, but I suspect even that will fade, given time.

I never went to Writing School, so I don’t know whether you get warned about these kinds of attachment issues. There are countless authors out there who do stick with the same characters book after book, developing them, challenging them and even in some cases killing them off when the reader least expects it. There’s undoubtedly an ease in returning to familiar faces, in already having their backgrounds established or relationships under way, and there’s a real thrill in being able to take your characters further, not to have to abandon them just when things were getting interesting and start all over again from scratch. The maxim write what you know can surely be adjusted to write who you know.

If there are any authors out there who have recently parted ways with their creations and are now experiencing similar heartache, I hope it might help to hear that you are not alone. But having said that, now might be the time to pull on your own pair of Big Girl pants and dust off that writing pad.

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Desolation Point is available now in paperback and e-book. Its sequel, provisionally titled Tumbledown, will be published by BSB in 2014. You can catch up with Cari at her own blog or via Facebook.


BSB_Desolation_PointUK LesFic has two signed copies of Desolation Point to give away to anyone who leaves a comment on this thread (all you need to do is say “hello” and leave your email address in the system so we can contact you if you win!) or who gets in touch via our email address:

Closing date for entries is midnight, Sunday 28th April, and we’ll announce the winners on the 29th. Best of British to everyone 🙂

54 Responses to “Guest Blog & Giveaway: Cari Hunter on Desolation Point”

  1. Carrie Stephanie Joan Gooch April 22, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    Hi Cari

    I loved your first book snowbound! Now I can’t wait to get in to desolation point 🙂
    I’m also really looking forward to the bold strokes author fest in Nottingham this June, as I have not been before, it will be great to meet you and all the other authors to! 😀

    • Cari Hunter April 22, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

      Hi Carrie (you have far too many letters in your name *g*) Thanks for reading – Snowbound and the blog! Be sure to come and give me a nudge in Nottingham. I heard from Vic – BSB’s UK editor – this morning and we’re going to run a big piece on the Fest next month, so keep an eye out for that. Meanwhile, you’re in the hat for the DP giveaway 🙂

      • Carrie Stephanie Joan Gooch April 22, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

        thanks I will,
        oh good! Cant wait for that,

        Awesome, looking forward to see who wins!

  2. Eileen April 22, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    As a reader, I have never been one for looking for Sequels, even although I have fallen for the characters in a story. It is good to understand, what you as an Author can go through. Thank you Cari, for widening my understanding.

    • Cari Hunter April 22, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

      You’re welcome, Eileen. Thanks to my day job (I’m a paramedic) I’m not a very prolific writer, so end up spending a lot of time with one set of characters. As a reader, on the other hand, I can get through a novel in a couple of days, so that emotional connection might well be diminished. In terms of reading I do love getting my teeth into a decent series, and I think the characters that have had the greatest impact on me have largely come from these. Commercially, I suspect there’s a certain naivety in me writing a sequel, but I had the story there, I knew I wanted to write it, and I really did have a blast. I hope some folks will enjoy DP enough to want to pick it up.

  3. Sue Flynn April 22, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    I have been waiting, what seems to be an eternity for this book and now its out still cant get it at the moment. matbe the book God’s will smile upon me and I will win a copy.

    • Cari Hunter April 22, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

      Aww, Sue, I can but keep my fingers crossed for you 🙂

  4. Anita Furlong April 22, 2013 at 11:13 am #

    Hello! I usually buy e-books, but this is one I want in hardcopy. What a perfect chance!

  5. Beni Gee April 22, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    Great Blog Cari, really enjoyed Desolation Point, can’t wait to read the sequel. Hopefully the fourth book being based in England will help with the language…! ;D

    • Cari Hunter April 22, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

      Hey Beni, glad you enjoyed the blog. Story 4 is back in the Peak District, and already has fish, chips, and gravy in it 😉

  6. Baxter Clare Trautman April 22, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    It’s hard, but our characters mirror life (or the other way around?) and sometimes ending their lives is just the natural outcome. But we love them and it’s tough, so we grieve and gradually move on to other loves, but they will always stay in our hearts.

    • Cari Hunter April 22, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

      Nicely put, Baxter. I think these two will always be two of my favourites, they were such a joy to write.

  7. hark1030 April 22, 2013 at 11:38 am #

    OK, you got me 🙂 Now I can’t wait to read it!!

    • Cari Hunter April 22, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

      🙂 Many thanks. I hope you enjoy it – hang on to see if you win a copy!

  8. Jane Morrison April 22, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    Desolation Point sounds like a great book I look forward to reading it. Enjoyed Snowbound very much.

    • Cari Hunter April 22, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

      Thanks, Jane, as you might have guessed, I had great fun with DP and it seems to be striking a chord with folks so far, which is lovely.

  9. SueH April 22, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    Very interesting blog. Loved Snowbound and am looking forward to reading Desolation Point.

    • Cari Hunter April 22, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

      Blogging is great therapy, Sue! Thanks for reading and entering the comp.

  10. Sam April 22, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    I read Snowbound about a month ago, what a lovely book. I fell in love with Sam & Kate. I hope I can do the same with the new book.

  11. Ruth Carson April 22, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    Looking forward to reading this, loved snowbound. It’s great to read something set nearby too.

    • Cari Hunter April 22, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

      Cheers, Ruth. Desolation Point has a slightly more international feel to it, but having Sarah in there means England is most definitely represented! I’m not sure I could write a novel without at least one character who says “bloody hell-fire.”

  12. jo April 22, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    Just loved Snowbound, looking forward to the new one. Thanks. Jo B.

    • Cari Hunter April 22, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

      Excellent! You’re in the draw for a copy of DP 🙂

  13. Marie Foose April 22, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    Hi Cari,
    I haven’t read anything by you, yet. I did pick up snowbound and Desolation Point sounds great. I look forward to reading it and the sequel!! I enjoyed your blog and your attachment to the characters.

    • Cari Hunter April 22, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

      I hope you enjoy Snowbound, Marie. Thanks for reading the blog and entering the giveaway. Good luck 🙂

  14. bookgeek April 22, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

    read both of your books – quite enjoyable, although the stamina of the two women is quite astonishing.

    • Cari Hunter April 22, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

      LOL, I guess desperate times call for desperate measures! Having said that, Sam and Kate, and Sarah and Alex are all bloody knackered (not to mention in need of some serious TLC) by the end of the novels 😉

  15. RJ April 22, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    Cari – Great blog and it’s so interesting to hear what writers go through with their characters. Would love a copy of Desolation Point!

    • Cari Hunter April 22, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

      Glad you enjoyed it, it was fun (and quite therapeutic!) to write. Your name’s in the hat, RJ.

  16. Lisa T. April 22, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    Hello! 🙂 I’ve been looking forward to reading Desolation Point. I’m glad to hear that you’ve already written a sequel.

    • Cari Hunter April 22, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

      Hello! That’s good to know, Lisa 🙂 I like to keep myself on my toes as a writer, and Tumbledown certainly did that – it tied me in bloody knots *g*

  17. Stevie Carroll April 22, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

    I’m hopeless at letting go of characters, probably because I grew up on multi-volume family sagas, amongst other works.

    • Cari Hunter April 22, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

      Oh, I love getting my teeth into a good series. Karin Slaughter is one of my favourite writers, not necessarily for her plots, but for her character writing and development. She also has some terrific female leads which is a real bonus. Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel trilogy is another great example of compelling characters you just want to go on and on. I’m rereading Kushiel’s Dart for the umpteenth time at the moment!

  18. Taliah Berry April 22, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

    Hi, I hope I am eligible to even hope to win a copy given that I am Australian… But hey, can’t hurt to try, sounds like a great book, which as a uni student, I can’t afford to buy often 🙂

    • Cari Hunter April 23, 2013 at 9:48 am #

      Taliah, you are certainly eligible and certainly not the only Australian entrant 🙂 It’s nice to have you on board.

  19. vera April 23, 2013 at 4:47 am #

    great blog Cari
    i enjoyed snowbound,looking forward to reading desolation point and sequel

    • Cari Hunter April 23, 2013 at 9:49 am #

      Thanks Vera, I’ve popped you into the hat!

  20. Hannah April 23, 2013 at 7:27 am #

    Hello! Not sure whether one is supposed to want to eat mac‘n’cheese at 9:30 in the morning, especially after the aforementioned one has had a big breakfast but the photo is making me drool!
    I am currently reading an e-version of DP but one never has too many books! 🙂

    • Cari Hunter April 23, 2013 at 9:51 am #

      I love mac and cheese! And I especially love my herby DP mac and cheese (you have no idea how hard I had to fight to keep those damn herbs!) *g* It was also extremely difficult finding a decent pic of that damn dish online, I suppose it’s not the most photogenic of meals despite being thoroughly delicious 🙂

  21. Doc April 23, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    Hello, really enjoyed Desolation Point Cari. Hope you’re knuckling down to the next book!

    • Cari Hunter April 23, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

      Hallo Doc! Fab to hear that about DP, I’m really glad you enjoyed it. The sequel’s all done and dusted, and story four is coming along nicely. I’m just about to take it into the garden with me, actually 🙂

      • Doc April 23, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

        Excellent, I thought you had only written 2 books? have I missed one? I’ve read Snowbound too.

      • Doc April 23, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

        I see now. Sorry. I’m away with the fairies today lol. Can’t wait for the sequel 🙂

      • Cari Hunter April 23, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

        LOL, no worries. My brain does that to me most days 🙂

  22. Bonnie April 25, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

    Hello! Loved the first book & cant wait to read this one!!

    • Cari Hunter April 26, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

      Hallo, Bonnie! Thank you 🙂 I’ve added you to the draw for DP.

  23. Camille May 20, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

    After I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me
    when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I get
    four emails with the exact same comment. Perhaps there is a means you can remove me
    from that service? Appreciate it!

    • Cari Hunter May 20, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

      Um, I don’t think we can do that, it’s something you’d need to alter on your end. You shouldn’t be receiving comments from this post any more, it’s not had anything added to it for months – unless you’ve somehow opted to follow all the comments from the blog?? Sorry I can’t be of more assistance.

  24. Tout le programme Moyenne section pdf June 17, 2014 at 11:02 am #

    Yes! Finally someone writes about ebooks.

  25. Leatha June 29, 2014 at 11:23 am #

    Hey there! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website with us so
    I came to look it over. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my
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  1. Guest Blog & Giveaway: Cari Hunter on Desolation Point | Bold Strokes Book Festival, UK - April 22, 2013

    […] Check out her guest blog on UK Lesfic: […]

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